Sep 3, 2021
Stan Rheinheimer, Wrangler NFR technical director
By Brian Hurlburt
Here we go with another Behind the Chutes blog, this time featuring Wrangler National Finals Rodeo technical director Stan Rheinheimer.
If the name sounds familiar, it should, because Stan is the brother of Allen Rheinheimer, the new NFR general manager. The two have worked together for decades and operate Showtime Jumps, LLC, a horse event production company that services more than 25 events annually.
Big brother Allen knows exactly what he is getting with Stan, whose first experience with the NFR was being a part of the construction crew in 2011.
“Stan brings a great deal to the table,” Allen says. “He understands the arena dirt and works tirelessly to improve it every day. He can also fix anything and his attention to detail is one of his strongest attributes.”
Attention to detail just might be the most important skill needed to succeed as technical director. Plus, the working bond the two brothers should also bode well for a smooth NFR operation.
“I’ve been working with him since I was in elementary school and we have a lot of experience and working knowledge over those years,” says Stan. “We can read each other and we know what the other is thinking, so that is always an advantage.”
Now, in his own words, Stan details his role as technical director.
It’s all about the event move-in for me because everything’s got to be clicking to keep it going smoothly. Everybody gets a little on edge trying to get their jobs done, but it always works out. Everybody gets along and understands the end goal. We all have to rely on each other because the process depends on it. If one set of people are running a little bit behind, it can impact those down the line.
My role is to be the point person during move-in and relay everything to everybody. I line up everything and everyone, so they can do their particular jobs. I’m not part of the production crew, per se, because what I do is more of the backbone of the operation, like making sure everybody’s in the right position, that all the stuff is done for the next group to move-in. And then throughout the rodeo, if there’s any problems or issues, I help solve them.
It’s a pretty short timeline for move-in because there is usually a UNLV basketball game the night before, and we usually don’t get access into the building until about four in the morning. Then the dirt starts going in and everything is set up from there. We hang the speakers, the signage, get the chutes in and everything. We usually are done about eight o’clock that night and then the sound people get started.
My overall goal is simple: it is for everything to have a nice flow with everybody involved.
The biggest challenge as technical director is just trying to keep everybody on a certain timeline. To do that, I keep in communication with everyone and if anything is falling behind, we try and help that area, but also put in contingences and start other parts of the move-in process that can be completed. It’s just constantly relaying information back and forth, and working with everybody and working together.
Each year my favorite moment is that once everything is set up, walking in and looking at the venue from the top of the concourse and seeing everything ready to go. It’s a huge sense of accomplishment for all of us on the team. It’s very rewarding to be part of that process and also the Wrangler NFR.
It’s great to be back in Las Vegas because the energy and vibe is different than anywhere else. It’s tough to describe it, but just the whole town gets so into it. Just look at Cowboy Christmas, and then also when we get back to the hotel you see people in the bars watching the replay from that night. It’s just great to feel that vibe everywhere you go.
What I do as technical director and everyone on the team does is all for the competitors. They’re the ones who have done the work and put in the time all year long. Whatever we can do to help them out, we will do. And they deserve the best.